In the Search for the Perfect Grapefruit

 

I think I was about ten years old when grapefruits first appeared in our grocery stores. Nobody knew exactly what they were but the rumor had it they were a hybrid of orange and lemon. Since beside those two the only other citrus known to the population was mandarin, the information didn’t seem all that absurd.

Masses hadn’t appreciated the novelty: even though it was bigger than an average orange it was too bitter. The idea to peel each wedge didn’t occur to people at first and once it did seemed like too much work.

Fruits were scarce and expensive and there were hardly any I didn’t like. So I liked grapefruits as well.

Rusty and Pomelos

Since then I’ve tried many more different varieties of citrus including grapefruit’s real parent pomelo but grapefruit is still one of my favorite fruits and I enjoy it in many forms.

 

Perfumes

This is a perfume blog so I’ll start with the perfume-related part (though for whatever reason – holidays? – my thoughts are all over the place). Grapefruit is a popular note in both supporting and leading roles so I am not trying to cover even all grapefruit perfumes that I’ve ever tested and still have samples of but will mention only several in-you-face grapefruit fragrances that I liked the most.

Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain is probably one of the best-known grapefruit perfumes. If you want a real review, I suggest reading Suzanna’s (Bois de Jasmine) five-star rated review. If you’re familiar with the perfume, I recommend reading Vanessa’s (Bonkers about Perfume) post Bonkers “In Edinburgh”: The Guerlain Pamplelune Sniff-Off And A Bid To Rescue Birgit’s Grapefruit Scent Squeeze – just for laughs. I like Pamplelune and two mini bottles will satisfy my grapefruit cravings for a while. Once they are gone I suspect I’ll want more.

Guerlain Pamplelune

Not surprisingly, Grapefruit by Jo Malone is the second perfume that comes into the conversation every time somebody raises the topic of perfumes with the homonymous note. Gaia (The non-Blonde) in her review was even more generous towards this perfume than I would have been: I think it’s nice but not interesting enough to tolerate the usual Jo Malone perfumes’ vanishing act and too expensive to use it in, again, usual for the brand’s DIY layering games. But I love Jo Malone’s Grapefruit Body & Hand Wash Gel. My travel-sized bottle is gone so now I’m thinking about buying the real bottle. I do not like the price but I enjoyed taking showers with that gel so much that I might just take the plunge.

JM Grapefruit‘s half-sibling, Pomelo by Jo Loves… (same perfumer but different brand and relations become even murkier if to consider fruits themselves), starts like a juicy grapefruit (well, technically pomelo but those two are close enough) but the drydown on my skin is very similar to the older brother’s one. And with an even higher sticker price this one isn’t making it into my collection. For real review of Jo Loves… Pomelo read Lucas’ (Chemist in the Bottle) post.

Another half-sibling, Assam & Grapefruit by Jo Malone (same brand but different perfumer), much more subtle with grapefruit, was a limited edition a couple of years ago (it’s still available online) so even though I have a bottle of it and wear it in summer from time to time, I don’t think it’s special enough to recommend hunting for it.

Eau de Pamplemousse Rose by Hermès in its opening is an unmistakably grapefruit perfume. Every time I try it, for the first couple of minutes I have to hold myself from leaking my wrist – so believable Eau de Pamplemousse Rose smells of sweet and juicy grapefruit! But then it dries down to a floral skin scent. It’s pleasant but the only reason I might go for a small bottle is because I like those colored bottles from the line. Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) thinks that Eau de Pamplemousse Rose can be trusted to revive the spirits, even if the rain keeps falling.

Rusty and Guerlain Pmplelune 

Drinks

I’m not a tea connoisseur (so if you are please disregard this part of my post) but I like tea and throughout the years I found different teas that I enjoy drinking. One of such teas is Lupicia Grapefruit Green tea. It’s very fragrant and has a very believable grapefruit smell. I bought this tea more than once which I do only with teas that I really liked – otherwise I just move on.

 

Food

Several years ago at Out The Door restaurant in San Francisco I ate Jicama and Grapefruit Salad with Red Cabbage, Candied Pecans and Sweet Soy Dressing salad. It was created by a known master chef Charles Phan (Slanted Door). I liked it and started making a variation of it at home. You can simplify the preparation by buying candied pecans instead of making your own. I found a blog with detailed instructions and pictures for this salad, so I won’t reproduce it here but rather give you a link.

 

Do you like grapefruits?

 

 

Images: my own

WTD, Episode 3.2: Tea Fragrance Blends by Jo Malone

Early this year (2011) Jo Malone introduced a limited edition collection Tea Fragrance Blends created by Christine Nagel.

“Five distinctive, contemporary scents, inspired by that most quintessential of British traditions – when everything stops for tea.” (Jo Malone official website).

English TeaI tried all five colognes from the collection and ended up buying three – Assam & Grapefruit, Earl Grey & Cucumber and Sweet Milk. Fresh Mint Leaf and Sweet Lemon both were nice but too simple. I wish Jo Malone released all five blends in a gift set of 9 ml each. Otherwise I had no use for 30 ml of a mint-centered cologne.

Earl Grey & Cucumber by Jo Malone – notes include bergamot, apple, jasmine, cucumber, angelica, davana, beeswax, vanilla, musk and cedarwood. I cannot smell any cucumber but I do get Earl Grey tea – not just a bergamot that is commonly used in many perfumes but the specific aroma you get from a freshly brewed Earl Grey tea. It wears very nicely on my skin, and I’m glad I bought it.

Assam & Grapefruit by Jo Malone – notes include grapefruit, black tea, cardamom, almond and patchouli (according to the official website; other sources mention also rhubarb, rose and musk). This one was an impulse buy. It smelled on paper much better than it smells on my skin. It’s a very subtle scent that turns too soapy on me half of the times I wear it. I tried to combine it with Sweet Milk and together they’ve created a nice spring scent but I’m not sure it needed to be a standalone cologne taking into the account that there is a very nice Grapefruit cologne in Jo Malone’s line. Robin at NST liked it much more so you might want to read her take on Assam & Grapefruit.

Earlier I’ve already told my story about Sweet Milk.

If you’ve tried colognes from the Tea Fragrance Blends collection do you think any of them are worth being brought back as a part of the permanent collection?

Image: my own

See all episodes:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 3: Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.1: Kohdo Wood Collection by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.3: Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.4: In the Search for the Perfect Linden
WTD, Episode 3.5: Orange Blossom by Jo Malone

“Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for…”: Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

… the sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.
Thalassa Cruso

I like Jo Malone‘s colognes. I own more full bottles of this brand than of any other. And then some decants and sample sprays. One way or another there are fourteen scents by Jo Malone in my collection. Not being familiar with the limited edition concept in the past, I’ve missed some of the perfumes I wish I haven’t. So this time I went to a store as soon as I read the new limited edition Tea Collection by Jo Malone became available.

Sweet Milk by Jo MaloneIt was an interesting idea – tea party components in a bottle. I concentrated on two “main” scents – Assam & Grapefruit (bought it) and Earl Grey & Cucumber (still thinking about getting it); I dismissed Fresh Mint Leaf and Sweet Lemon as nice but too simple; as to the Sweet Milk scent, it piqued my curiosity because it smelled … differently but I didn’t think I would like it. I sprayed it on my wrist just to see how it developed on the skin. And as I was sniffing it repeatedly, not only the scent but also my childhood memories started developing. And in no time my mind conjured vivid pictures from the past.

Dive in to keep reading…